How will Hanley Ramirez rebound while also changing positions?
You can blame a lot of his 2011 letdown on a left back strain and a troublesome shoulder, which underwent surgery in September, but injuries hardly present the whole case. We've seen hints of Han-Ram's poor disposition: questionable effort; spats with former skippers Edwin Rodriguez and Jack McKeon; a tense clubhouse attitude; and his latest wavering acceptance of moving to third base with the acquisition of shortstop Jose Reyes.
The hot corner probably fits Ramirez's body type better, but the move, for someone who could take such things personally, might intimate the team doesn't fully trust him to be The Man. Uh oh. With the right player, a polluted psyche can corrupt skill. Rodriguez recently inferred that the Reyes arrival would weigh on Ramirez's already delicate nature. Is the fiery Ozzie Guillen the comforting factor Miami thinks he can be?
Enough psychobabble: Ramirez's perturbing ground-ball increase over the last two seasons has diminished his pop upside. A healthy shoulder should provide more thump, but he's a safer comeback candidate for batting average - thanks to his top-notch BB/K - than for leaving the yard. That being said, Ramirez was sparked by a move to the cleanup spot (.304-6-28) during his final 138 at-bats of last season, so maybe with his approach, location matters. He wasn't as aggressive in hack-taking last year; letting him rip could reignite him.
Even with reaching 20 taters in question, Ramirez's swipes, opportunities to drive in Reyes and impending dual positional eligibility add some luster. (Would it be shocking if Han-Ram retained 6 qualifications for at least 2013 thanks to a Reyes injury?) The Marlins could still trade him; his skills, if recovered, will work in any environment. Sticking in this lineup won't hurt.
Many will consider him a worthy investment in the late section of the first two mixed rounds. On the five-category surface, it makes sense. A return to 2010 numbers would make him elite again. The underlying cerebral factors, however, make him more volatile than many will believe or admit, meaning those who take the plunge should, in all fairness, also receive a bottle of antacid.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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